Live Review: Roger Daltrey, Inhaler; The Goalie’s Anxiety… Bokr Tov, B.B. Sledge tonight… 

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:23 pm July 1, 2024
Surprisingly sparse crowd for Roger Daltrey at the annual Memorial Park concert June 28, 2024.

by Tim McMahan,

On one hand, I was surprised at the light turn-out for the Roger Daltrey/Inhaler free concert at Memorial Park Friday night. On the other hand, I had to wonder how many people under the age of 30 know who Roger Daltrey is and was. 

To underscore the latter perception, Omaha Magazine posted a video on social media wherein one of their “reporters” asked random kids if they knew Daltrey’s music. You can imagine the results.  Add to that week-long weather forecasts that warned of thunderstorms (the weather was beautiful, btw), and I guess I can see why the attendance was lower than I expected. 

Inhaler at the annual Memorial Park concert, June 28, 2024.

It’s a shame, because Friday’s concert was somewhat awesome and maybe the best Memorial Park show I’ve attended. Opening act Inhaler featured Bono-from-U2’s son, Elijah Hewson, on lead vocals and guitar and was a solid band. It’s unfair to compare Inhaler to U2 I know, but it’s impossible not to. Hewson’s voice is a doppelgänger of his old man’s, but their pop-alt-rock music was a far cry from the power and energy heard on albums Bono was making when he was Elijah’s age. Ah, but those were different times. 

Inhaler’s slick, formulaic approach to songwriting will either mean their music will remain unforgettable or, considering the pedigree and the power of Universal (their label), that they’ll be superstars. I wish the Omaha Magazine folks would have asked the same kids if they knew who Inhaler was. 

Right at 8:30, on came Roger Daltrey and his band. The last time I heard him sing live was years ago when The Who played at CHI Center (or whatever it was called at the time). Back then, Daltrey was clearly under the weather – or so we were told – and his voice was a rasping, ragged ghost of its former self. 

Roger Daltrey performing in Memorial Park, Omaha, June 28, 2024.

That wasn’t the case Friday night. At age 80, Daltrey can still hit (most) of the high notes and is smart enough not to try when he knows he can’t. I was astonished at how well he sang.  

The setlist was a great collection of classic Who songs and appropriate covers, opening with a cover of Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door,” which Daltrey said The Who should have recorded. Lots of old Who songs followed, including “Substitute,” “Squeeze Box” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” alongside a rarity like “Tattoo.” Daltrey did an a cappella rendition of the first few lines of “Love, Reign O’Er Me” just to sort of prove to the crowd that he could, and after the first chorus said, “That’s enough of that.” 

The band, which included guitarist Simon Townshend (Pete’s son, who sang leads on “Going Mobile”), was solid, replacing pulsing organ and synths lines on songs like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and set closer “Baba O’Riley” with violin and accordion, to great effect. 

As the set ran toward 10 p.m., Daltrey said they had time for one short one, and so they ripped into “The Kids Are Alright.” A few seconds into the song, Daltrey said from stage, “They’re telling us we have to stop. They’re giving us the hook,” but despite this, the band played to the end. I don’t know if they were being directed by a curfew or the start time for the disasterous fireworks display, which came on immediately after Roger said goodnight.  

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Tonight at The Slowdown, Philly band The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick headlines. The six-member band has a real throwback sound to ’00s indie, almost like early K Records chamber-pop bands (or our very own Slumber Party Records’ acts). Also on the bill are local indie bands Bokr Tov and B.B. Sledge. 8 p.m. $15. 

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